A new report from telecoms consulting firm BWCS shows that the UK has broadband wireless services on more trains than any other European country. There are now 2,000 WiFi-equipped railway carriages in the UK, putting the country ahead of its closest rivals Germany (with 911 carriages) and Italy (with 995 carriages). France is even further behind with just 416 carriages.
The European market for on-train wireless broadband services is expected to grow from €47 million (£37 million) per year in 2011 to €80 million by 2021.
Graham Wilde, CEO of BWCS, said “Competition is the major factor driving train operators to make this investment. The UK has benefited hugely from the franchise system which saw private, entrepreneurial companies take to the rails ahead of the rest of Europe. Now, as competition spreads slowly across the EU, companies are scrambling to install WiFi onto trains.”
Over half of all WiFi-equipped carriages in Europe currently provide free broadband to all passengers. 28% of carriages offer a mixed charging model, with free service in premium class and time-based charging in standard class, and just 17% WiFi carriages charge all customers.